Category Archives: Friends

A Look Back at 32

Tim and I in LiberiaTomorrow is my birthday and I plan to celebrate with some shopping, relaxing and a milkshake. Tim’s birthday was last month and we spent it at the Powerscourt Ritz Carleton outside of Dublin enjoying a five star meal at Gordan Ramsey but for my birthday Tim’s taking me to Cook-Out Burgers. Don’t worry– I’m not mad. It was my idea after I saw a sign on the side of their building that says they offer 40 milkshakes. I’m already a little nervous about having to choose just one flavor!

Anyway, when my birthday comes around I always like to take some time to reflect on the past 365 days. (Here’s last year’s for instance.) Here are some of the highlights of 32:

  • I enjoyed seeing my byline in more magazines than ever before including about half a dozen times in REDBOOK.
  • I opened the Wall Street Journal on June 15, 2011 to see huge color photos of my friends and I along with a write-up about our Traveling Journal.
  • In early July I spent several days in Atlanta promoting authors at the International Christian Retail Show. I also got to visit CNN and see fellow Iowa State alum Jacqui Jeras.
  • On July 18 I found myself sitting on the set of The Today Show with my best friends talking about the Traveling Journal.
  • I spent the first two weeks of August in Liberia, Africa helping to drill wells in remote villages and share Christ with Muslims.
  • I spent the last two weeks of August enjoying time with visiting relatives from Northern Ireland. We had a fun trip to Atlanta where we bumped into Whitney Eve Port from The City.
  • My sister came to visit and we had an amazing time which included a trip to the Old Edward’s Spa– amazing!
  • I helped plan and organize the Reality Check event, benefiting Water of Life. We raised a couple of thousand dollars to help drill wells in Third World countries.
  • We spent Thanksgiving in Florida with Tim’s parents and got to see some of my friends.
  • For Christmas we headed to Seattle for an extended visit. Tim and I went skiing, shopping and site seeing.
  • In January we found out we were expecting!
  • Tim and I did several weekend getaways for a magazine including a resort in the Georgia mountains, The Grove Park Inn in Asheville, and the Opryland in Nashville. All of them were so fun and full of special memories. We also got a behind-the-scenes tour of Dave Ramsey’s headquarters which was a highlight.
  • In April we went to Northern Ireland for a 10 day trip that included amazing sites and some of the best food we’ve ever had. Plus we got to spend time with our family.
  • We found out that our baby is a boy and we named him Sam!

When I see it all written out like that it’s hard to believe that I will ever have a year quite as unique and memorable,

group with KL and Hoda

With Kathie Lee and Hoda on The Today Show

but then again, I am about to have my first child so that will be full of its own adventures and memories.

The older I get the more I realize that every year is special in its own way. There really doesn’t have to be a time designated as “the best years of your life” because each year has the potential to hold something remarkable. You just have to be willing to welcome new opportunities and often that means spending a lot of time outside your comfort zone. So here’s to 33– I’ll be toasting it with a milkshake!

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Filed under Family, Friends, Funny, Getaways, Holidays, life, Marriage, Uncategorized

The Kindness of a Reality Star

Amy Parham's New Book, Coming Out in January

We seem to have quite a few reality stars in the Upstate of South Carolina. Maybe every community has quite a few these days. But I just had to tell you about my experience with former Biggest Loser contestant Amy Parham. Amy not only agreed to be in the November issue of Belle Magazine (a local women’s magazine I write for), but she also took me up on a random request this week.

You see, my friend Tonya loves The Biggest Loser. She just spent a week at The Biggest Loser Ranch in Utah (even though she doesn’t need to lose weight!). Since Tonya’s 30-something birthday was Monday I asked Amy if she would call her up and wish her a happy birthday. Lots of celebs would have just hit delete on that email but Amy was kind enough to agree.

So on Monday she called up Tonya (a police officer in California) and wished her a happy birthday. Amy’s husband and fellow Biggest Loser contestant Phil also got on the phone. Tonya seemed to enjoy the birthday greeting and called me right after squealing with excitement. So thanks Amy for making Tonya’s birthday even more memorable and for making me look like a good friend!

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Join in on My Favorite Christmas Tradition!

One Resident Opening Gifts Last Year

For the past five years my friends and I have been “adopting” the residents of Reedy Place. It’s an innovative apartment building that gives chronically homeless people a place to live. After living on the streets, and even in dumpsters as one resident told me, they now have a small apartment of their own. Many of the residents struggle with mental illness, physical disabilities and other issues. But they are beautiful people. And I love spending part of my holiday season with them. This year they recently opened Reedy Place II, a second apartment building next to the first one. That means we have more residents than ever to buy Christmas gifts for– 23 in all! So I thought I’d invite you to join in on this tradition. Feel free to email me at alison at alisonstorm dot com if you have any questions. We’ll be giving the residents their gifts on December 20 at 7pm!

1. Caleb Goodman: Shirt XL, Beige Pants 48×30, Socks size 13

2. James Paul: Jacket XL, Tennis shoes 10 1/2, Socks

3. Richard Dickerson: Red or Blue Baseball Cap, Socks and shoes size 12, Radio

4. Carl Lindsey: Tennis shoes size 9, Sweat suit size 34 pants and large top, Table Clock

5. Thomas Jones: Converter box for a TV, Tennis shoes size 10 1/2, Jacket 2XL

6. Boty Young (male): Crock pot, Tennis shoes size 12; Groceries

7. Anthony Holloway: Jacket size L, Jeans 34×32, Socks or Hat

8. Pamela Cooper: Color TV, DVD player, Gauchos size 20

9. Johnny Mattison: DVD Player, Watch, Timberlain Hiking Boots size 8 1/2

10. Elaine Jones: DVD Player, Converter Box for TV, Watch

11. Larry Huggins: Work Boot size 13; DVD Player, Levis Jeans 38×32

12. Richard Chluzinkski: Ozzy Osborne CD; Converter box for TV, DVD Player

13. Nathaniel Rosemond: Television, Converter Box for TV, DVD Player

14. Veronica Elmore: Underwear size 13, Socks, DVD Player

15. Glen Allen: Sweat Shirt size small, Jeans 29×29, Tennis shoes size 8 1/2

16. Allen Brown: Watch, DVD Player, Gold Chain

17. Illya Golden (male): Long Sleeve Shirt size 18, Beige Pants 46×30, Tennis Shoes size 10 1/2

18. Sherman Simpson: Watch, Jeans 32×32, Jacket size medium

19. William Issac: Fila Shoes size 12 in red, orange or yellow; CD Stereo, Smoothie Maker

20. Marcus Gambrell: DVD Player, Black Coat size large, Work boots size 9

21. Tommy West: Nike Tennis Shoes size 11, DVD Player, Classic Rock CDs

22. Cathy Lagroone: Light Blue Curtains 50″x84″, Spongebob items, Tablecloth

23. Michael Massey: Telephone for house, Dress Shoes 13D, Christmas Candies

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Thanksgiving Yumminess

Don’t you just love Thanksgiving? It’s like Christmas without all the commercialism and stress. It seems like every year we are either traveling or invited to a friends house since we don’t have any family around. Last year our friend’s parents invited us over and the year before that we chowed down at the amazing buffet at Wynn in Las Vegas and the year before that we ate at Denny’s on the way to NYC. Yuck. This year we are going over to another friends’ home and we were asked to bring a vegetable dish. I’ve narrowed it down to two options:

Cauliflower Gratin

OR…

Spiced Butternut Squash

I figure just because it’s a vegetable doesn’t mean it has to be healthy. It is Thanksgiving after all! If there was ever a day to cheat that would be it. Even though we’re spending Thanksgiving at a friend’s house we decided to cook a meal ourselves, too. I bought a cute little ten pound turkey and I plan to cook it up after our Black Friday adventures for Thanksgiving round two. I mostly just want the leftovers since it’s been so many years since I’ve opened a fridge to find stacks of Thanksgiving leftovers. I really can’t remember the last time I had day old turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes hiding under a pool of gravy. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

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My Aha Moment Has a Shot at Fame

Back in June I signed up to shoot my “Aha Moment” through Mutual of Omaha’s national bus tour. They visited lots of cities around the US, allowing people like me to share a positive point in their life that really stands out. For me, that was not only starting the traveling journal as a way to stay connected with my long distance friends, but also the moment when I realized I wanted to help other long distance friends launch their traveling journals, which is why I started TheTravelingJournal.com!

We just found out that my Aha Moment is one of 75 finalists competing for a national ad! This first round of voting goes until October 15 at which point, the pool will be narrowed to the top 25 most popular ads. Will you take a moment and vote for our video? There is no registration required– it’s literally one click! There is one vote allowed per computer (or phone!) so please help us spread the word! We are a new business and we think this could be a great opportunity. THANK YOU!

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My New Business

Nearly ten years ago I started a tradition. I took a blank, boring journal and filled the first few pages with bad poetry, dorky photos and a heartfelt note. Then I sent it away to a friend. The pages of that journal eventually got filled with memories and what was once a cheaply made book became one of my most priceless possessions. For my four friends and I, The Traveling Journal became an illustration of our friendship that no amount of emails, text messages or Facebook status updates could ever match.

This year it occurred to me that more and more friendships are long distance. Spouses, jobs, and promises of warmer weather are pushing people to pick up and move away from the people that mean the most to them. So I, along with a few founding friends, decided to launch TheTravelingJournal.com. It’s a place where people can get their own journals (much better quality than ours was) and accessories to enhance the experience of The Traveling Journal. Just about everything is custom-made, mostly by hand.

I realize that in an iPad world, The Traveling Journal may have a hard time finding its place. There’s no technology involved. There’s no immediate gratification. And you actually have to hold a pen in your hand to make it work. But I can tell you from experience there’s no better feeling than being able to flip through the pages of a friendship, to hold the same book in your hands that those closest to you have held, and to be reminded every once in a while that you are deeply loved.

My friends and I all agree, we would not be as close as we are today if it weren’t for our Traveling Journal. And when it comes down to it, life is about the people you love. So as a writer, I hope to encourage others to write in the pages of their own Traveling Journal. And I trust that one day, The Traveling Journal will become just about the most precious thing you own.

Feel free to “like” The Traveling Journal on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter. And, of course, visit our shop.

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My Hometown (Sioux City) Was Built on Rock and Roll!

When my friend Melissa sent me the link to this video she edited I thought it was amazing! Only Melly could get veteran news anchors, the city manager and macho police officers to lip sync to an 80’s Jefferson Starship song. Sure, Comedy Central may think this video ruined the Internet, but I think it rocks!

If you like that one, make sure you watch this other video Melissa edited featuring us and three other friends. I think it’s equally fabulous, but I’m pretty sure it won’t go viral like We Built Sioux City on Rock and Roll did. Good job Mel!

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